Tag Archives: Rayna Sage

Another successful APRIL conference in the books!

2020 APRIL Conference logo- a computer with text above and below. "2020 APRIL Conference. 2020 and beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL. Virtual conference... real world change.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone at the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) for another wonderful conference. Even though we couldn’t be together in person this year, everyone here at RTC:Rural appreciated that we were still able to connect and come together as a community. Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference!

For those with conference logins, recordings of the presentations can be found on the 2020 APRIL Conference website, on the Agenda page.

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RTC gears up for the 26th APRIL conference

2020 APRIL Conference logo- a computer with text above and below. "2020 APRIL Conference. 2020 and beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL. Virtual conference... real world change.

This year the 26th annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference “2020 and Beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL” is online, and will be held October 12-16. We are proud to be part of this year’s conference to continue our work alongside APRIL and the Centers for Independent Living it represents.

Registration, a draft agenda, and other information can be found on the APRIL website.

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Do you provide personal assistance services to rural people with disabilities? We want to hear your story!

PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana: share your experiences

A caregiver helps a person with physical disabilities eat.
From Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).

RTC:Rural is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care to identify the supports needed for personal assistance services (PAS) workers (also known as personal care attendants, or PCAs) in underserved rural communities.

To help better understand PAS worker experiences, the Rural Personal Assistance Worker Project Team is recruiting PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana to take pictures of their daily work experiences.

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Project Snapshot: Rural Community Living Development

Rural Community Living Development

The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer to peer mentor training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. The project includes helping communities identify, access and use NIDILRR-funded products and resources that can address the most important community issues for increased independence and participation (such as access to accessible housing or transportation) of people with disabilities in their rural communities.

The Rural Community Living Development project team explains the project and gives a quick progress update.

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New toolkit available to help make rural community events accessible for all

Event accessibility, online and off

cartoon drawing of stick figure with curly brown hair sits at desk with laptop

With so many community events going online, it’s still important to remember to make sure they are accessible. While our newest toolkit was designed for use at both indoor and outdoor rural community events, there are many considerations that also apply to online events as well. The spirit of community inclusion, support and connection carries on until once again it is safe for us to gather in person at community events.


Looking for ways to help make community events more accessible? Check out RTC:Rural’s newest toolkit, the Community Assessment for Accessible Rural Events (or CAARE) Toolkit. The toolkit was created to help community members make sure their rural community events are accessible and inclusive. It includes resources such as checklists of accessibility issues and tools that help advocates conduct surveys and collect feedback from event attendees. The toolkit also contains materials with step-by-step instructions on how to analyze that feedback so it can be shared with event organizers.

cartoon drawing of person with prosthetic leg stands holding a pencil and checklist

 “Disability advocates and event organizers can use this toolkit to work together to plan for accessibility, identifying realistic accessibility goals and using a simple survey tool at the event to learn how people experience accessibility,” said Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director.

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Rural Institute Researchers awarded 5 year Rural Community Living Development Grant

The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is pleased to announce a staff team has been awarded a five-year, $981,803 Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project grant by the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research within the Administration for Community Living.

The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development (RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).

A group of people in a community park enjoying a picnic. Two of the people are using powerchairs.

The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community members to help them connect to resources and information they might not otherwise have access to.

Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.

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RTC:Rural travels to Grand Rapids for 25th annual APRIL conference

25th Annual APRIL National Conference on Rural Independent Living. 1995-2019. The Power of Rural.

RTC:Rural heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan this week for the 25th annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference. The conference will be October 25 – 28, and the theme is “The Power of Rural.” 

Harnessing the theme of this year’s conference, Project Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Lillie Greiman, Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett, and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot will give a presentation titled, “Using Rural IL Power to Address the Needs of People with Disabilities Living in Poverty.” In their presentation, they will discuss how poverty affects Independent Living (IL), rural resources that Centers for Independent Living (CILs) can leverage to help address poverty, and how community development strategies can address poverty among people with disabilities living in their community. Dr. Sage will also briefly describe a number of new opportunities for CILs to get involved in RTC:Rural’s research and rural community development projects to address local issues that affect IL services.

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Research Snapshot: PAS in Rural America

Rayna Sage at a rodeo with mountains in the background
Dr. Rayna Sage.

Approximately 10 million people with disabilities receive paid personal assistance services (PAS) in the United States. For many, these services are critical for social and community participation. However, little is known about rural-urban differences in PAS delivery and consumption, and how these services influence community participation and health.

To address this lack of understanding, RTC:Rural is conducting research on PAS in rural America.

Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.

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New Book Chapter Looks at How Rural Culture, Inclusion, and Community Events Impact People with Disabilities

Quote from 'Disability and Rural Events'- "Having moments to recognize others and to be recognized as a community resource helps keep people with disabilities visible and engaged."

Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores, a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which was published in January 2019 by Routledge.

“Rural community events are a time when community members are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and connectedness.”

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